How 'hurt' SA selection convenor Zondi had to erase Abbott from his system
Proteas selection convenor Linda Zondi has revealed that Kyle Abbott's abrupt Kolpak-enforced departure from the national team early last year deeply disturbed him.
The 30-year-old ditched the national team at the conclusion of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Cape Town for a Kolpak contract with English county side Hampshire.
While Abbott played second fiddle to the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel‚ the 2016/17 season was a breakout one for him.
Abott played a huge part in South Africa's innings and 80-run win against Australia in Hobart; the Test after Steyn injured his shoulder.
Picked ahead of Morkel‚ Abbott's match figures of 9-118 helped the Proteas record their third consecutive Test series win against Aussies in Australia.
While Abbott's 11 Tests were spread over four years and he also found himself at the centre of the Vernon Philander selection matter at the 2015 Cricket World Cup‚ in the light of Morkel's retirement‚ Abbott would have been able to establish himself as a key component of South Africa's bowling arsenal.
Abbott only took part in one Kingsmead Test; the 214-run defeat against England in the 2015 Boxing Day test.
The Durban ground will be hosting the first Test between South Africa and Australia that starts on Thursday.
“I was very disturbed to be honest because I knew him since he was young‚" Zondi said.
"The manner in which he went about his exit hurt but I moved on.
"The manner in which he hid his move‚ the secrecy and how well he was performing at the time when the opportunity was given to him.
"At the time when Kyle was playing‚ we had some very good bowlers.
"He had to wait and be a back up bowler.
“When Dale Steyn was injured‚ he was given his time and he was on top of his game.
"He was going to play for a very long time.
"The secrecy did hurt me and I guess he's one of the players I've had to erase from my system.
"The same applies with Rilee Rossouw because we backed him and we looked at him as one for the future. Also‚ the manner in which he deserted the country.”
Zondi said while there's a need for administrators to respect the decisions players take‚ players also need to understand the work that's been invested in them for them to succeed.
“Every player has to make his own decision and as administrators‚ we have to respect that.
"However‚ what the country and the Proteas have done for them‚ surely we deserved more from an openness and honesty perspective‚” Zondi said.